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The owner of the planned Summerfield subdivision in Spotsylvania County is continuing to push for lower fees to offset the development's cost on schools and other services.
Clark Leming, a Stafford County land-use attorney, filed a lawsuit this month on behalf of Marion Hicks, who owns the land for the 127-home development off U.S. 1 near the Kingswood subdivision just south of the Fredericksburg line.
The complaint asks the Circuit Court to declare that the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors was wrong to deny Hicks' application to reduce Summerfield's cash proffers by about $2 million.
But Leming told Spotsylvania Circuit Court Clerk Christalyn Jett that he did not want the suit served yet.
In a telephone interview, Leming said he's considering alternatives--including submitting a new proffer amendment for Summerfield--but filed the suit
The Board of Supervisors rejected Hicks' request in March, though the Planning Commission recommended approving it.
"It is our intention to work with the county and to effect a cash proffer reduction that will work for Mr. Hicks and put him in a position where he can actually develop the property, and that's simply not the case now," Leming said.
He said he hopes to file another proffer amendment within a month if they decide to go that route.
Under state law, the new application would have to be substantially different from the one rejected by the Board of Supervisors. Hicks, who agreed to pay $3.5 million in cash proffers when Summerfield was approved in 2009, would have to wait a year before resubmitting the failed application.
Leming wouldn't say how much he wants the proffers reduced but said "we're optimistic that there is such a viable approach." Hicks had previously been represented by local attorney Charlie Payne.
Payne had said the high proffers didn't reflect the current market and are a disincentive to home builders.
The suit alleges that the county's rejection of the proffer amendment was unreasonable and illegal. It says that the county set higher proffers for Summerfield than other developments and that the fees exceeded the neighborhood's impact to the county.
County Attorney Jacob Stroman said he didn't find the complaint's arguments "compelling." For instance, he rebutted a claim in the suit that Hicks, a former member of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors, didn't volunteer the proffers.
"If they weren't voluntary three years ago, why is this matter only surfacing now after the amendment was denied?" Stroman asked.
"I just don't see anything in this complaint that appears meritorious."
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402